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Cathy Webb

Pediatric nurse and nursing instructor

Photo: Cathy Webb

Like many pediatric nurses, Cathy knows firsthand that parenting a child with special needs can be overwhelming. But her role as a JMU nursing instructor led her to devise an ingenious way to provide some help. She developed a respite program for children with disabilities and their parents that pairs JMU nursing students with families in need of help. The Claude Moore Precious Time Program assigns students to work in pairs with an assigned family throughout a semester. The program does far more than provide parents with a much-needed break. Students learn to "see" the child beneath the disability and get to develop relationships with some extraordinary families. This unique campus/community partnership definitely puts the power of knowledge to work, and the result is enriched lives for all the participants.

"Nurses have the privilege of knowing all aspects of patients and their families. They willingly spend time to build relationships that work toward health promotion. Nurses are the largest group of health-care providers in the country, and our collective voice can make a difference."